No visit to Washington is complete without a tour of the monuments; Jefferson, Lincoln, Washington, Vietnam War and others. While it is nearly impossible to see inside the White House these days, a walk or drive-by is a must, particularly at night when it is all lit up. A visit to Arlington Cemetery and the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier isn’t to be missed; a moving experience when you realize how many people have given their lives for our country.
Washington is a big museum town with a museum for almost any interest. Holocaust, dinosaurs, international spies, space, medical, historical documents are just some of the topics.
Other favorite stops include the National Arboretum, 446 acres of flowers, trees and bushes from all over the world, the National Zoo and the National Cathedral, There are wonderful walking and biking opportunities in a delightful park or along canal towpaths, places to rent boats and kayaks, world class art galleries, specialty shops and boutiques and maybe the best flea market we have ever seen.
Thompson Boat Rental
rents canoes, kayaks, sunfish and rowing shells for use in the Canal or the Potomac. Pedal boats are also available for the Tidal Basis.
Take a historic trip on a barge on the C&O Canal, Foundry Mall in Georgetown or see the sites from the Potomac on a DC Cruise.
Baseball is back in the Nation’s Capital with the Nationals and the locals are thrilled. The Redskins are trying to reclaim their glory years, The Wizards rule the hard court and the Capitols the ice. Schedules and tickets available at Ticketmaster.
Old Town Trolley Tours lets you see the sights and get on and off when you want. $24. DC Ducks Tour may be the most fun with a city tour on land and in the Potomac. $25. Bike and Roll is a great way to see Washington and get some exercise. $40. Private, customized tours by licensed guides are available from Guide Services of Washington for $155 plus transportation. The newest tour innovation is to see the City on a Segway with City Segway Tours. See Mt. Vernon by taking the Potomac Riverboat’s Miss Christin from Old Town Alexandria for the 50 minute trip to the first president’s home.
There is so much to see in Washington and it is impossible to get to everything and certainly not in a 3 day weekend. Here are a dozen things you should see before anything else, in no particular order;
The monuments and memorials-Lincoln, Jefferson, Arlington Cemetery, Iwo Jima and
Vietnam Veterans Memorial. These are included in virtually every kind of tour.
Mount Vernon-George Washington’s estate.
National Air & Space Museum-Chronicles man’s feats in the air and space.
U.S. Capitol-The heart of our democracy.
National Gallery of Art. One of the greatest art museums in the world.
National Museum of American History.-Wonderful exhibits of America’s past.
National Zoo-As good a zoo as you will find anywhere. Remember the pandas from China?
Washington National Cathedral– one of the largest cathedrals in the world.
Dumbarton Oaks and Gardens– mansion, museum and gardens.
The White House. Visits have been restricted since 9/11, but driving by is still awe inspiring.
Library of Congress. Many consider this the most fascinating visit in Washington.
International Spy Museum. This has become a top attraction. The story of spies and
intelligence operations that changed history.
Holocaust Museum. Depicts this horrible time in our history, “provides a powerful lesson in
the fragility of freedom, the myth of progress, and the need for vigilance in preserving
National Museum of African American History & Culture. Wonderful recounting of the
history and culture of black Americans.
The National Theatre, books Broadway touring productions and new plays on their way to Broadway. The Shakespeare Theatre puts on 4 plays a year, three by Shakespeare, and the Arena Stage is Washington’s fine regional theater. Finally the Warner Theatre, hosts Broadway shows, comedians and concerts. Signature Theater is a non-profit professional theater company producing contemporary musicals and plays and reinventing classic musicals.
The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Virginia and New Hampshire NW, has 5 different stages ranging in size from the 2,500 seat Concert Hall to the smaller Terrace Theater and Theater Lab venues. The Center presents everything from ballet to symphonies to drama to comedy to opera.
Galerie Lareuse, has works of Picasso, Matisse, Calder and more. P&C Art, in Georgetown, large selection of original paintings and limited edition prints. Some great stuff on Georgetown and Washington. Georgetown Gallery of Art has been open since 1957 and specializes in 20th century masterworks. Old Print Gallery, original antique prints of American towns and cities. Touchstone Gallery offers contemporary art from regional artists. Zenith Gallery was founded by Margery E. Goldberg to serve as an affordable haven for artists to work, live and share their art.
The Fashion Center at Pentagon City, about 10 minutes from downtown by Metro is the typical Mall with 170 stores and all the usual suspects. The Shops at National Place, is interesting for both its design and the 40 some boutiques and shops. The Shops at Georgetown Park, right on the Canal, and Georgetown in general are the best places for shopping in Washington in the stores you would find in most malls around the country.
Some other favorites; Periwinkle Gifts, Gourmet items, soaps, lots of unusual items; Betsy Fisher, 1224 Connecticut Ave. NW. Great stuff for the office or weekend; My Place in Tuscany, in Alexandria. Beautiful artwork. Worth the trip to Alexandria. Salt and Sundry is a fantastic shop for hostess gifts.